FAO.org

粮农组织主页 > 伙伴关系 > 档案库 > news article

Private Sector Seminar Series: The Grameen Model Towards Achieving Food security


The President and CEO of Grameen Foundation USA, Mr. Alex Counts, visited FAO headquarters today and gave a seminar for FAO staff titled “Grameen Model Towards Achieving Food Security,” which marked the beginning of the FAO Private Sector Seminar Series.

17/09/2013 - 

Rome –The President and CEO of Grameen Foundation USA, Mr. Alex Counts, visited FAO headquarters today and gave a seminar for FAO staff titled “Grameen Model Towards Achieving Food Security,” which marked the beginning of the FAO Private Sector Seminar Series. The seminar took place after FAO and Grameen Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which includes goals to increase farming innovation exchange, strengthen smallholders’ access to agricultural and financial services, and increase rural access to competitive value chains. 

Mr. Counts first witnessed extreme poverty in 1988 when he was a Fulbright Scholar working with Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. He returned to Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1992, where he served as the Regional Project Manager for CARE-Bangladesh for two years. Mr. Counts went on to establish Grameen Foundation USA in 1997 and has served as the CEO and President of the organization since 1998. 

Mr. Counts explained that Grameen Foundation’s goal is to enable impoverished populations with the information and tools they need to realize their full potential. Many of these populations lack essential and actionable information about health, agriculture and finance, and Grameen Foundation has addressed these informational deficiencies by creating easily accessible and reciprocal channels of information. For example, responded to the specific challenges faced by agriculture extension workers – including limited field extension networks, high dispersion of producers and remotely accessible geography – by developing a Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) initiative. With the support of the Gates Foundation, MTN (a Ugandan telecommunications company), Google, and local experts, the CKW initiative successfully combined mobile technology and human networks to give smallholder farmers access to accurate, timely information that helps them protect their crops and animals, improve their yields and secure better market prices. The introduction of the CKW model resulted in a great impact on farmer behaviour and agriculture practices.

Counts also informed the seminar that Grameen Foundation developed a Progress out of Poverty Index® (PPI®), which is a poverty measurement tool for organizations that serve the poor.

Mr. Counts went on to say that in order to achieve food security and fight poverty, information alone is not enough. He stressed that pro-poor projects must be scalable and aimed at behavioural change.

He concluded by highlighting that the collaboration with FAO will strengthen the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in support of rural livelihoods to:
      •    Increase the effectiveness, outreach and monitoring, and evaluation capacity of rural extension services;
      •    Support small-scale producers’ access to validated practices and technologies for sustainable production and food security;
      •    Support smallholders households with better access to agricultural and financial services and to competitive value chains;
      •    Strengthen knowledge exchange among agriculture ICT practitioners by sharing lessons learned and best practices;
      •    Improve means of poverty measurement, through the use of the Progress out of Poverty Index® (PPI®).

About the Private Sector Seminar Series
The Private Sector Seminar Series offers FAO staff the first-hand opportunity to hear from the Private Sector; to learn about the contribution of the Private Sector to food security; and to consider concrete initiatives and projects with the Private Sector that align with FAO’s mandate and contribute to FAO’s Strategic Objectives.

Related Links: 

Watch video about FAO partnership with Grameen Foundation USA